October 17, 2011

No Change in Storminess

As we enter the winter season, we all realize that if a large snow storm forms anywhere on the planet, someone will immediately appear and claim we are witnessing the effect of global warming. However, winter storms (aka extratropical cyclones) are tough to sell to the public given the images of cold, snow, wind, and misery at the low end of the temperature scale. So if winter storms are a hard sell, hurricanes (aka tropical cyclones) are nothing short of ideal – warm water, heavy rain, wind, and misery in already warm parts of the world.

But, it turns out that in either case, new research reported in the scientific literature finds little in the way of changes that are unusual in today’s climate of “global warming.”

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March 5, 2010

European Storms

The winter of 2009-2010 has produced its fair share of winter storms in the Northern Hemisphere – recall that President Obama arrived back in Washington from his appearance at the Copenhagen climate conference only to find the White House grounds buried under near-record amounts of snow. Europe and Asia have seen their share of large winter storms as well during the 2009-2010 winter. Hardly a large storm goes by without someone, somewhere suggesting that whatever we are seeing, it is related to “climate change”. If one looked no further than the Technical Summary of the IPCC, they would discover that the IPCC is rather quiet on this subject with no claims whatsoever that winter storms will increase in frequency, magnitude, duration, or intensity due to the ongoing changes in atmospheric composition.

Two new articles are out that further confirm that global warming has not and will not be causing mid-latitude winter storms to become some new destructive result of the greenhouse effect.

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December 27, 2009

Winter Storms Update

Filed under: Extratropical Storms

If we happen to see an unusually large number of winter storms this year, we suspect some reporter or some scientist will insist we are witnessing the effects of global warming, or at least declare we are witnessing climate change before our very eyes. Oppositely, if this year’s winter storms are infrequent, we will expect to learn from someone that we have seen the effects of climate change. In fact, in a recent paper in the International Journal of Climatology, the authors begin their piece noting “One area of growing concern in climate science is the impact that global warming could have through modulations of the nature and characteristics of naturally occurring extreme events, such as severe mid-latitude storms.” In the very next sentence, the research team from the United Kingdom and Australia state “However, both observational and modelling studies of historical and future storminess patterns and scenarios are divided on the role that global warming has played, or could play, in changing patterns of mid-latitude storms”. Once again, we find any straightforward link between global warming and winter storms is a bit more dicey than originally thought … there is always more to the story.

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